Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Skinny Me

OK, so I’m not skinny.  I’ve never been skinny.  The closest I’ve been was the first couple years of college, when I wore a size 4.  And weirdly, I lived on Diet Cokes and Hershey bars out of the library vending machine.  Even at a size 4, I found myself sucking in a little tummy pooch.  I could never get that sucker flat.  I obsessed that one day I could just relax in a bikini and not suck in at all.

I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life.  During that same college experience, while dating an extremely tall guy, I attempted to match his monster food intake and soared up to a size 14.  My mother of course began to nag.  And I wasn’t very happy with how I looked.  I spent a lot of time wearing my boyfriend’s boxers and oversized t-shirts, in an attempt to hide the extra weight.  When we broke up, I lost the weight again.

I have had a love/hate relationship with eating and weight since I was real little.  I begged my mother for a pair of blue jeans when I was around 11 and she refused.  She said they just wouldn’t look good with my “little lazy tummy.”  When I look back at prepubescent pictures of me, I see a tiny little girl who, if anything, had a tendency to stand a bit swaybacked, which is the only reason I had a “tummy” at all.  But the seeds of discontent were planted early.  My mother continued to dress me in coveralls and overalls.

I was 13 when I went on my first diet.  I carefully followed a diet plan I found in Teen Magazine (remember that rag?).  My mother applauded my efforts.  I probably weighed about 110 pounds at the time, but I was already obsessed with that stomach pooch.  I fell off the diet with a WHAM when we went to a school reception and I was faced with a plate of Krispy Creme Donuts and a table full of cookies and cakes.  My mother wrinkled up her nose in distaste.

When I was in my teens, Mom had me walking around in heels with books on my head.  She could hear me peeling a banana from across the house.  She would scornfully swoop down on me, and whatever time of day, she would inform me that I would gain weight and spoil my dinner.  I learned from my dad that stealth, cunning and gluttony were the keys.  Stealth and cunning were the only ways to get snacks with Mom around.  We learned to look for cooking ingredients like marshmallows and chocolate chips, which were hidden behind other containers in the pantry.  Often we would get up to eat after she was in bed.  And I think we both ate out of spite, just to prove that we could do it and get away with it, which set a very bad precedent for my future.

The rest of my life, my weight has swung up and down.  I began eating to spite myself, gorging when I was angry with my life or sad or upset because I was gaining weight.  Smoking curtailed that behavior a bit, high school through just out of residency, since smoking is another way to punish yourself when you are upset or sad.  That kept the weight off a bit.  There was a fair amount of drinking with the smoking, however, and that put weight on both via calories (my drink of choice has always been beer) and via complete loss of eating will power when I was drunk.

I have always had a closet full of clothes, but part of the reason for that was that I have kept a range of sizes from 6 to 12 my whole life.  My weight swings that much.  I only keep items that flatter at whatever size, although some sizes are just unflatterable.

When I got pregnant, I got the diet monkey off my back but good.  Pregnancy was an excuse to eat whatever I wanted without the guilt.  After all, I was eating for 2, right?  And I would lose the weight after the baby came, right?  At least I managed to avoid gestational diabetes.  I remember one time eating two Cinnabons at the same time and feeling right queasy afterwards.  I weighed 190 pounds when I had my baby.

Amazingly, the weight did come off.  I dropped to about 135 just by breastfeeding and cutting back a bit.  I sure wish I could breastfeed without having another baby.  Boy, if I could pump those suckers out a couple of times and drop some weight, it would be totally worth it.  Then I went on an extremely restricted calorie diet, which I maintained by writing down every single thing I ate and looking up the calories in a book I carried with me everywhere.  I dropped to 123 pounds, which I loved, as I was hovering between a size 6 and a size 4, but my husband began telling me I was too skinny (huge mistake, in my book) and I lost my discipline and started eating again.  It didn’t help that at the lower weight I began to get light headed and pass out at work, during surgeries when I had to stand for long periods of time.

My job finally got the better of me.  I had hated that job, hated my line of work for so long.  My stress level was unbelievable.  My partner and I had been looking for a new partner, and it took us the better part of 2 years to find one.  When we did, she turned out to be a total sociopath, and we had to let her go.  We then entered a stretch where we were on call every other night for 2 and a half years.  I ate.  I stress ate.  I ate when I was angry.  I ate when I had a bad day.  I ate when I was stuck at the hospital late at night.  My husband became the nemesis that my mother had been, and I ate to spite him.  I ate because I was depressed and I hated my freaking life and I had nothing to look forward to and it was the only thing that gave me pleasure.

I finally hit rock bottom.  Or should I say, rocky top.  My weight soared up higher than it has ever been since pregnancy.  For 2 years, I weighed 175 pounds.  At 5’3″.  I have never looked so bad.  I didn’t have pregnancy as an excuse.  I was wearing about a size 16.  I hated myself.  I hated myself because I was fat.  I hated myself because I love clothes, because I had an entire closet full of beautiful clothes that didn’t fit.  I hated myself because I lacked the willpower to diet more than a day before backsliding.  I looked so ugly.  I wore scrubs all the time, because they came closer to concealing the fat.  I actually had a patient scold me because I had “let myself go”.  My face blew up – it looked like I did when I was pregnant.  I lost all self-respect, cut off all my hair into an ugly haircut, and stopped wearing jewelry or makeup.  And I hated myself every day.  Not one day went by that I did not call myself ugly names and loath myself.  I never looked in mirrors.

I found salvation when I finally ditched my shitty job.  I quit and began work as a locum tenens, or traveling doctor.  This meant when I was working, I wasn’t home and therefore was not feeling the stress of failure as a wife and mother.  And when I was home, I was off.  I could enjoy being a wife, mother and housekeeper.  I made a rule that when I was on the road, I would not eat out.  I allow myself one treat:  a yogurt parfait with granola and fruit.  And the pounds finally came off.  Melted off.  I’ve dropped from 175 to 142 and I’m still going.  I’ve got 20 pounds more to go, to get me back in my 6’s, or even 4’s.  I now am wearing a 10, and some 8’s are fitting.  My closet fits again!  I can wear all my clothes!  I’ve been trying on the entire closet, reveling in the fact that everything fits!

I’ve never been so happy since that weight has come off.  That 175 pounds was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.  I missed opportunities to see old friends, because they would see how fat and ugly I looked.  I hung my head in shame when I met new people, because I knew they were judging me for my ugly, lumpy, misshapen bulging body.  I love photography, but for 2 years I dodged every opportunity to be photographed, even if it meant having no pictures with my family, because I couldn’t stand the sight of my ugly self.  For 2 years my Facebook profile pictures were pictures of my daughter.  I have never been so full of hatred and humiliation.  To hell with people who say, “Love yourself the way you are.  You’re beautiful at any size.”  I call bullshit.  I looked like pure shit crap.

So now I’ve gone on this self-improvement bender.  Not only have I lost weight, I’ve grown my hair out so it looks pretty, I’ve started wearing makeup again, and I had my teeth whitened (a whole other post).  I’m enjoying my hobbies again.  That ugly depression that dogged me for two years, it’s almost gone.  And it’s a circular thing.  The less depressed I was by work, the better I felt and the more able to improve.  The more improved I became, the more I liked to strut my stuff and the more the depression faded.

My advice:  change your life.  Your whole life.  It’s probably the suckiness of your life that’s keeping you where you are.  You probably hate yourself because you hate your life.  No matter how scary it is, make the bold move.  Decide what you want, and do it now.  Even if it means decreased income, decreased power, decreased approval from friends and family.  Do what you love now, before your life is over and you look back and you realize you hated the whole freaking thing.  Allow yourself to have dreams again.  For almost 10 years, I had no dreams, no goals.  I never imagined that things could be different.  When I finally made the move, the whole thing came together.  I have never been so happy.  DO IT.

Trim on my honeymoon

Trim on my honeymoon

My ugly fat body after birth - forewarning of things to come

My ugly fat body after birth – forewarning of things to come

Trimmed down again, about 135#

Trimmed down again, about 135#

Down to about 125#

Down to about 125#

Freakin’ rock bottom. 175# at my best friend’s wedding shower. Note: no makeup, didn’t even dry my hair, triple chin

Never mind the red eye. A friend took a picture of me when we ran into each other a couple days ago. She posted it on FB and captioned it: “Dr. H – 30# lighter!”

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11 thoughts on “Skinny Me

  1. Your post echoed my sentiments . I am on the bend now trying to get rid of depression and am working on body image issues. Your post motivated me to an extent. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  2. kellyscott57 on said:

    some of my relatives battle the weight loss /gain , my cousin when he played sports ? gained to play football/ lost to play basketball, then gained to be the catcher in baseball?

  3. Cheyenne on said:

    Oh my thank you for sharing! While the root cause may be different I understand the roller coaster ride. I am 50lbs heavier than I was when 9 months pregnant. I am stuck socially amd mentally. Your post is raw and inspirational at the same time. Thanks for this gift to me this morning.

    • It’s so hard to build up momentum when you’re trying to get started on a weight loss project. It’s so easy to say, well, I’ve only been on this diet a few days… what would it hurt to just eat this piece of cake? You have to find a way to convince yourself that you’ve been on the diet for MONTHS. Of course, then your smart brain tells you, that, well, you haven’t lost any weight yet! 🙂

  4. Such a constant struggle for so may of us. It’s nice to see someone winning!

  5. Pingback: You like me. Right now, you like me. | candidkay

  6. Sophia (alias) on said:

    Thank you for sharing your journey with weight…it made me feel better about my own. I have to admit I never really cared much about weight until I hit 20 years old, I think I was mostly average weight until then though, I don’t remember even ever stepping on a scale. At 21 I noticed I was gaining weight and I started to feel ugly about it, and one of my mom’s boyfriends even commented about how much weight I gained in the year since he had seen me (they had broken up and gotten back together). I had never felt so ugly. Then I got my first boyfriend and he made me feel pretty despite my fat (I think I weighed 150 and I’m only 5’2″)…he joined the army, went off to basic training for 9 weeks, and without even trying I felt like I was losing weight (I was depressed over him leaving and didn’t have much of an appetite, and I also had a new job that kept me on my feet) so I went to Publix (lol, yes, the only place I could use a scale because we didn’t have one) and I was shocked that I weighed 116 pounds. He had only been gone about 5-6 weeks at this point. My goal was 120 and I was four pounds under that! (My first thought was somehow four words at once – STARBUCKS! ICE CREAM! CUPCAKES! CAKE!). He came back, we got married, YAY, move to a foreign country and I am picky and don’t eat much of the “new” food…he deploys. Even worse depression than before, this was the real deal. He was “Big Time” gone for months and months. I dropped down to 103. I was happy, my mom was shocked and constantly trying to get me to eat, my dad was proud (he is very concerned with weight). My mom made me feel bad by saying I looked “ugly skinny” and like I had anorexia. The truth was, I ate whatever I wanted, but my depression once again made it hard to have an appetite. I joked with my friends that if they wanted to lose weight, just send their significant others away and it will melt off. Hubby comes back, babies are unwanted, I go on Implanon…I gain a whomping 55 pounds, I swear to God, overnight. I just woke up one day and it was there. I had it taken out 6 months ago…started a work out routine…(somewhat) changed my diet (I really do love food)…stuck at 147-ish. Blah. Back when I was still on my medicine, I had never felt so fat and ugly…like some people can be fat and beautiful, but definitely not me. I saw pictures of myself and felt worse. I wish I could burn them but they’re on Facebook and I’m holding cute puppies in my lap and surrounded by four beautiful people holding cute puppies and I’m the only one who’s ugly and it would be selfish to report it to Facebook for excessive use of ugly and have it taken down, right? Anyway…enough rambling. I’m sorry.

    What I really wanted to say is I was surprised to see your “worst” photo…I truly hope you believe me, but I thought you looked beautiful. I thought if that was your “worst” photo but I believed you to be so beautiful in it, then perhaps I’m not as ugly as I feel in my “worst” photo…the only redeeming quality in it, being puppies (I really love dogs even more than I love food). And I wanted to say again that you sharing your story has given me more self-esteem about the way I looked and still currently look. I got a hair cut and I feel the shorter hair suits me more so that is good. 🙂 I will keep trying (maybe work better at a diet…I do try and eat healthy, but I also like to sneak in a miniature Reeses cup every now and then) to get down to my goal weight (I do feel 103 was a bit too skinny…so around 120 would make me happy) and will think of this post and your journey as my inspiration and motivation. Thank you!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I gained a bit again because we did a lot of traveling recently, and it’s hard to eat right when you’re in a strange place, but I’m back on track again now. I just felt so unhappy when I felt the weight coming back on, I knew that there was no food deliciousness that was better than the pride I felt being in shape!

      • Sophia on said:

        You are very welcome…but I think you should splurge and treat yourself to special things when you are on vacation! It is suppose to be fun after all! There is plenty of time to diet and exercise when you get back, but some of those foods you can’t get back home so you should get to enjoy them while you can. That’s what I told myself when I had Starbucks every single day while we were visiting London for 5 days, because we had been living in Germany for two years and we didn’t have any Starbucks within a few hours of us. (But now that we’re home I treat myself maybe once a month or every other month since we have one right around the corner.)

        And that is what I tell myself now when I catch myself eye-ing gourmet cupcakes at HEB (darn them for making them look so delicious…it’s like eating art)…is it really worth how crappy I will feel later? Is it worth all the cardio I will have to do to burn it off? Is it worth the shame I feel when my pants won’t button? That usually works well for me! My friend has started something I think is pretty cool, she has a picture of an extremely fit woman as her cell phone background with the caption “This can be me as long as I stay motivated.” I should do that and look at it every time I’m tempted. Maybe print it out and tape it to the cookie jar….

      • My rather plump aunt kept a photo of a pig with the caption “Those who indulge, bulge.” on her refrigerator door. She also had a little sound box in the fridge that mooed when you opened it. I don’t think they helped though…

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